"Where's my bottle? What's all this bullshit about alcohol? A man is willing to lay his life down for his county, you best let that man have a goddamn drink!"
It was obviously great to have Richard back in the story after what seemed like a extended absence, however, his story wasn't particularly engrossing and no where near the same caliber as his soul searching journey into the woods for Season 2's "Gimcrack & Bunkum." Richard, since he has little to do with the rest of the ensemble except Jimmy's son (also MIA), is spending his time in the Legion hall and watches a drunk old Vet named Paul Sagorski mouth off at the rest of the guys or, as he would say, fucking saps. This leads to a bare-knuckle boxing match the following night where he gets worked resulting in Richard helping him off the mat and to the side of the road to meet his ride. And to toss back a few drinks. His lovely daughter Julia, who doesn't seem to mind the masked man, picks him up and they leave before Richard finds a medal left behind. Costanza! Sorry. Mr. Harrow (she remembers) returns the medal and learns why the old man fights before being reminded of his own loved ones. At the end of the episdoe, he's pouring over photos of him and his sister, perhaps planning a visit?
"He tries anything. I'll stick him in the face with this and I'll kill him."
Margaret anchors the episode and while I enjoy her character, especially the rising conflict with Owen, not a lot happened in the significant amount of screen time devoted to her thread. "Ging Gang Goolie" opened with Teddy alerting his mom that the greenhouse was on fire which quickly brings Owen (as well as the neighbor Ms. Predock) to investigate. No professional foul play to worry about, Gyp would certainly just kill them and forget the fire nonsense but Owen is able to get a few facts from Teddy after an interrogation. A gypsy (very close to Gyp no?) man did it. Margaret and Owen share a moment flirting about Irish goblins before deciding it was probably Teddy that started the fire. No Billy Joel jokes. She can't get the truth out of her son but he does share his concerns over the lack of a man in the house. Does that mean his 'It's not going to happen again' means he's guilty or on the job as the new man of the house? The next scene, where we find Margaret reading about Margaret Sanger, seems to suggest the former as Ms. Predock found the boy in her garage playing with matches and fuel. Caught red-handed! I also like how polite the neighbor was even though Teddy could have burned her house down with her inside. She must really want to bone Owen.
Speaking of Owen, while the kids and Margaret practice State capitols, he pops by with news that the vagrant problem has been taken care of and there's no longer anything to worry about. Vagrant? So, Teddy didn't do it? Or Owen just caught some bum and killed him? Suddenly it seems Teddy is playing protector but that means he would have been rounding up the dangerous supplies next door to hide from the pyromaniac gypsy. Who was once a rabbit. That last part makes it hard to buy his story one hundred percent but I'm not telling him that, he'd stab me in the face! When all seems safe, and Margaret has sent home the hired goons, she wakes to a noise in the night and heads shotgun in hand (ignoring the out of place cut to Richard) to the greenhouse only to find Owen playing protector at Mr. Thompson's request. Then, not at Nucky's request, they succumb to temptation a second time. About time! And I have a feeling, since the season has spent so much time on women's health (plus this episode's allusion to Sanger) not to mention how Margaret always used to 'wipe' after sex with Nucky, that she's now preggers with Owen's baby. Just a guess.
"Because he was a king."
If it wasn't clear before "Ging Gang Goolie" that Boardwalk Empire, not just the characters but the series itself, was missing Michael Pitt's killed-off co-lead it should be crystal now. If his loss was going to weigh so heavily on the third season's storyline, I don't understand the reasoning behind setting the events over a year later. It might as well be the next month the way the series continues to cling to his character and, like the others inside the story, cannot seem to move on to the next phase. The series is already struggling without Jimmy to simply unify the various story lines and settings, something noted in the recap for last week's disconnected "You'd Be Surprised," but "Ging Gang Goolie" also highlights how big of a dramatic vacuum was created by his loss. And, worst of all, it doesn't seem anywhere close to being filled, especially not by the whole Gyp Rosetti conflict. Even the inevitable war, no matter how bloody, won't have anywhere near the impact of Nuck and Jimmy's final meeting in the rain. I hate to say it (because I love Buscemi) but did they kill the wrong man? Historical accuracy be dammed! Let's hope Owen, Richard and Eli form their own gang. Chalky and Dunn too.
Boardwalk Empire returns with Episode 7, "Sunday Best," next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Created by Terence Winter, it stars Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Vincent Piazza and Michael Stuhlbarg.